Active Citizens is a non-profit programme that promotes community cohesion and improvement through civic engagement or volunteering. 

Since the launch of Active Citizens 2009 to April 2016, we have worked in 45 countries worldwide with over 525 partner organisations. Through these partners we have trained 4,688 facilitators and 155,078 Active Citizens who have designed and implemented 6,232 social action projects.

Run by the British Council and partner organisations, it aims to increase the contribution of community leaders towards achieving sustainable development both locally and globally.

It also encourages peer-to-peer relations across cultural, geographic and political boundaries via a lively online social network of participants, as well as occasional international exchange visits.

Active Citizens in Burma was launched in 2010 and since then has engaged with over 3000 community leaders across the country. The programme has been delivered in 30 communities ranging from Karen and Mon states, to the northern parts of Shan State as well as Rakhine State in Western Burma.

How does Active Citizens work?

  1. A national strategy
    Research identifies key national issues. For example, in some countries a key issue might be literacy, in others, environmental protection might be considered more urgent. The British Council then forms partnerships with civil society organisations (delivery partners) working in these areas, to enable the delivery of Active Citizens locally.
  2. Facilitator development workshops 
    Delivery partners identify local facilitators. These facilitators take part in facilitator development workshops to find out more about the programme and explore approaches to delivering the programme locally.
  3. Local community delivery
    Local facilitators adapt and deliver local workshops to groups of Active Citizens in their communities.
  4. Facilitation
    Active Citizens work with facilitators to design and deliver social action projects in their communities.
  5. Globally connected
    Locally engaged Active Citizens connect to a global network through study visits and exchanges with other countries, as well as through sharing via online portals and working on joint activities with communities around the world.

Partners

Active Citizens is delivered through our local partners in Burma, which include Edulife, Mote Oo Education, Swe Tha Har Social Services, Movement for Democratic Forces (MDCF) and PS Business School. A significant amount of free volunteer hours are also invested in the programme by the participants. 

This year Active Citizens focuses on strengthening Burma’s democratic process through stronger civic engagement. In partnership with our local partner Edulife, we are training 240 active citizens in four locations –Thingangyun and Hlaing Tharyar Townships in Yangon Region, Kalay in Sagaing Region and Myaung Mya in Ayeyarwaddy Region. Over the course of the project, our active citizens will be engaging with MPs and community leaders in civic forums, as they develop and deliver social action projects in their respective communities.

Edulife

EduLife, is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental, educational civil society organization, focusing on community education and youth development. EduLife holds a vision towards a society of well-educated citizens with authentic development practices and values.The mission of EduLife is to train young people and development workers to become active, well-informed and responsible citizens for effective participation in the development process of Burma. 

British Council’s partner since 2013, this year Edulife is delivering Active Citizens with a focus on strengthening Myanmar’s democratic process through civic engagement. The project covers four areas –Thingangyun and Hlaing Tharyar in Yangon Region, Myaung Mya in Ayeryarwaddy Region and Kalay in Sagaing Region.

PS Business School

PS Business School is a private institute of higher education with a mission to provide better learning environment, exposure, experience to learners by means of creating development opportunities for the students as well as meeting its social responsibility. 

The School introduced the first Business Plan Competition in 2010 and the Social Enterprise Competition in 2013 in Myanmar. It collaborates with international partners on a range of projects such as Global Social Venture Competition with the University of Berkeley, USA and Social Venture Competition with the National University of Singapore. It has also organised a series of youth development programmes including Youth to Social Enterprise Workshop 2012 and Social Innovation Youth Camp 2014. 

PS Business School delivered the Active Citizens programme in 2015 with the social enterprise content in Yangon and Mandalay. And PS continues to raise awareness about social enterprise through the Active Citizen concept by organising events such as the Myanmar Sustainable Business Conference 2016.

Dagon University

Established in 1993, Dagon University is one of the largest national universities in Myanmar with thirty three thousand students attending regular classes and additional thirty seven thousand students enrolled in distance learning. The university has twenty eight teaching programmes offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences. 

Dagon University became our partner in 2015 to deliver Active Citizens with the social enterprise content. Students from Dagon University, Yangon Institute of Education and Yangon University as well as 10 DU teachers have been trained to become master facilitators, who in turn have delivered AC cascade training. The initial AC programme has inspired the active citizen students to form the Active Citizen Team, Social Enterprise Team, Debate Team, Reading Team, Blood Donation Team and Coordination Information Team.